Recreational therapy, also known as therapeutic recreation, is a systematic process that utilizes recreation and other activity-based interventions to address the assessed needs of individuals with illnesses and/or disabling conditions, as a means to psychological and physical health, recovery and well-being.
The purpose of the RT process is to improve or maintain physical, cognitive, social, emotional and spiritual functioning in order to facilitate full participation in life. Services are provided or directly supervised by a “Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist” (CTRS).
Recreational therapy includes, but is not limited to, providing treatment services and recreation activities to individuals using a variety of techniques including arts and crafts, animals, sports, games, dance and movement, drama, music, and community outings. Recreational therapists treat and help maintain the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of their clients by seeking to reduce depression, stress, and anxiety; recover basic motor functioning and reasoning abilities; build confidence; and socialize effectively. Recreational therapists should not be confused with recreation workers, who organize recreational activities primarily for enjoyment.